Yesterday, on Good Friday, someone wished me a Happy Easter. I was disturbed by that, but I was even more disturbed by not knowing what to do about it. I weighed my options, do I point out to this person that today is Good Friday, or do I just move on? I moved on; I was in line at the deli and it just didn’t seem prudent to press the issue. I was disturbed the remainder of the day though as the things I “should have said” played themselves over and over in my brain. Today is Holy Saturday, and the talk of the town is the “big game.” I don’t know which game that is; I don’t really follow them.
This week I have walked the way of contemplation; I have wrestled with meaning; I have felt deeply, cried heavily and experienced my wounded soul opening petal by petal to the transforming warmth of God’s love. Yet in some ways it is as though we have moved from Christmas to Easter in the blink of an eye. All of the fat has been trimmed from the story. We want the bottom line and spare me the details. Yesterday, maybe twenty people showed up for the ecumenical Good Friday service – out of the whole town – maybe twenty people.
We cannot be resurrected until we die first—that’s the bottom line. Holy Saturday is that space, that gray area that lingers between the suffering and death of Jesus on Friday, and the light and the resurrection on Sunday. We don’t give a whole lot of thought to Holy Saturday. Our minds are always on either the death or the resurrection. We like to contemplate where we’re going or where we have been, but we don’t really care to think much about where we are. Holy Saturday is a key component of the human condition – it is that area of tension between life and death that makes us uncomfortable because standing in it means full exposure, full disclosure, nowhere to hide. In the Holy Saturday of life we are stripped of false identity, deceit, and the whole arsenal of defenses that keep us from being fully present to both life and death, because this is where life and death square off; Holy Saturday is the jagged edge that runs right down the middle.
Yet, some of the happiest times of my life have been spent navigating this jagged edge. The jagged edge runs right along the border between Israel and Palestine. And as I sit on the gray bus, watching the armed soldiers board, I am fully present to both life and death with nowhere to hide. The jagged edge runs between the storm in front of me and the calm behind me; and as the tornado bears down and I am fully present to both life and death with nowhere to hide. The jagged edge runs between consciousness and unconsciousness as the anesthesiologist slips the mask over my face and tells me to breathe; it hovers in that split second as my car skids across the ice, and it hangs in that terrifying moment between the birth and first breath of my child.
When I walk the jagged edge I have no control, yet I somehow become in-sync, in-tune, connected, fully dependent and fully liberated. I am stripped of the illusion that I control my own destiny, and I am freed to exist, to inhale, to exhale, fully aware that it may be for the last time, but also fully aware that it is not up to me. Each breath is a gift that may be withdrawn at any moment. I feel more alive walking the jagged edge than at any other time, and I want nothing more than to burrow down into its essence and drink in the raw beauty. I am like the monk hanging precariously from the cliff with a hungry tiger both above and below, and a luscious ripe strawberry in front of him. Eat the strawberry, embrace the jagged edge, savor the richness of unknowing. God is not to be tamed or controlled or dictated to, and every moment of our existence is a gift from our creator God.
Everyday life is only the surface of a much deeper, much richer reality and the jagged edge of Holy Saturday, or the gray area of Holy Saturday, is where we stand stripped of our egos and our illusion of control. Yet it is here, that we learn to embrace the wildly unpredictable yet fierce love and fidelity of a creator God known only as “I AM.” I wish you a happy Holy Saturday.